Lacking Arrogance

Text: Psalms 131


I.         Psalms 131 is one of 15 psalms which are titled “Song of Ascent.”

            A.        It is commonly believe that these were pilgrimage songs, sung while the people journeyed up to Jerusalem for the major feasts.

            B.        This particular psalm was written by David and expresses the attitude a worshiper must have in approaching God.

            C.        Structure

Psalms 131


            my heart is not proud,

            nor my eyes haughty;

            Nor do I involve myself in great matters,

            Or in things too difficult for me.

            Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;

            Like a weaned child rests against his mother,

            My soul is like a weaned child within me.

O Israel,

            hope in the LORD

            From this time forth and forever.


II.        My heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty

            A.        The heart determines who you are

                        1.         Proverbs 4:23 - The heart is the well-spring of life. Everything originates in the heart.

                        2.         Evil thoughts first start from within - Mark 7:18-23

                        3.         Proverbs 23:7 - The miser thinks one thing, but says the opposite. But it is the thoughts that defines the man

            B.        The eyes determine where you are going

                        1.         Matthew 6:22-23

                                    a.         Light and dark represent good and evil

                                    b.         If you fill you eyes with light (righteousness) then your whole body will follow along

                                    c.         If you fill your eyes with darkness (wickedness) then your whole body will follow along.

                        2.         If you decide to walk to your car, would it make sense to fix your eye on the chalkboard here and start walking backwards? No! Why? Because you probably will fall down. We need to look were we are going.

                        3.         But where we look also causes us to walk in that direction.

            C.        David is saying he has kept pride out of his heart and he has kept himself from straying into pride.

                        1.         You cannot have God’s word in your heart and be haughty at the same time. There is no room for both. - I Peter 5:5-6

                        2.         Micah 6:8 - We are to walk humbly with our God.

                        3.         We must be always mindful of our position in life in comparison to God. - James 4:10

III.       Nor do I involve myself in great matters or in things too difficult for me.

            A.        Mankind has difficulty understanding his limitations.

                        1.         “There is nothing you cannot achieve once you set your mind to it!”

                        2.         Try creating life from non-life sometime. Or do it God’s way, start from nothing and create a universe.

            B.        God’s ways are not man’s ways - Isaiah 55:8-9

                        1.         This is the error Job stumbled into. He spoke without fully understanding - Job 42:1-7.

                        2.         God is all knowing and man is not - Psalms 139:1-6

                        3.         Romans 11:33-36 - God’s paths are beyond tracing.

            C.        Yet man trusts in his wisdom

                        1.         God has hidden things from the wise - Matthew 11:25-26

                        2.         I Corinthians 1:18-31 - God’s wisdom confounds the wisdom of man

            D.        In other words, this passage speaks against intellectual arrogance

                        1.         For example, someone asks about angels and demons, so you look up and study every verse that reveals something about angels and demons. But the person is not satisfied with that. They raise hypothetical questions, engaging in long theoretical debates over matters God has not revealed.

                                    a.         It is arrogance for man to debate what God has not said.

                        2.         Others second guess God. “Times have changed.” “The writers didn’t understand what we do now.”

                                    a.         Justification for sinful practices, such as homosexuality

                                    b.         Yet another form of arrogance. The idea that man knows more now than God did several thousand years ago.

IV.      I have stilled and quieted my soul

            A.        In other words, David is saying I have learned to be content.

            B.        He draws a parallel to a weaned child.

                        1.         A newborn has no patience. Feeding must be done right now, when I’m hungry.

                        2.         A weaned child gets hungry, but can wait while Mom makes preparations.

                                    a.         Perhaps not totally patiently, but certainly not with the attitude that it will never happen if it doesn’t happen right now.

                                    b.         It involves a sense of trust that Mom will take care of the child.

            C.        We need to develop a trust in God. To wait for His developments

                        1.         Psalm 37:7 - God will take care of His people

                        2.         Psalm 130:5-8 - Be as patient as a guard on the watch tower

                        3.         Lamentations 3:24-41 - Given God’s goodness, how can we expect anything else

            D.        We cannot approach our God like a demanding child who must have his way.

                        1.         In every circumstance, we must learn to be content - Philippians 4:11-13

                        2.         Godliness with contentment - I Timothy 6:6-8

                        3.         God will not forsake us - Hebrews 13:5-6

            E.        Contentment is not a temporary respite from stress

                        1.         Contentment is trust in the outcome no matter what the current circumstances.

                        2.         The last line in verse 2 is the key to this psalm.

V.        Jesus said, you have to become like a child to enter the kingdom - Matthew 18:3-4

            A.        What is a child like? David answered this

                        1.         No pride in who you are

                        2.         No arrogance in where you are going

                        3.         No intellectual superiority

                        4.         But being content to wait

            B.        But how? How do I regain this?

                        1.         Psalms 131:3 answers - Put your hope in God

                        2.         Starting now and continuing always

VI.      Isaac Watts wrote a poem based on Psalm 131

Humility and Submission

Is there ambition in my heart?

Search, gracious God, and see;

Or do I act a haughty part?

Lord, I appeal to thee.

I charge my thoughts, be humble still,

And all my carriage mild,

Content, my Father, with Thy will,

And quiet as a child.

The patient soul, the lowly mind,

Shall have a large reward: 

Let saints in sorrow lie resigned,

And trust a faithful Lord.

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